Photo credit:www.studio2121.com

Before we talk about my hair type,let me get this quote from Americanah out of the way,it sets the stage for what I consider is a travesty that has gone on for far too long but thankfully is almost obsolete as more women are now getting to fall in love with their hair,the way it is and without having to resort to having it relaxed .

“Relaxing your hair is like being in prison. You’re caged in. Your hair rules you. You didn’t go running with Curt today because you don’t want to sweat out this straightness. You’re always battling to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

When I first decided to go natural and shave  off my relaxed hair,I walked into a barber shop  in Nakuru ,told the barber to  chop of my shoulder length hair straight hair and I looked at him as he shook his head,he could not believe it and it felt like he was willing me to change my mind.

And also 8 years ago,not very many women were walking into barber shops….willingly.

He looked at me,asked  if I knew what I was doing and of course I answered that I was very clear headed , that the only thing I had  that morning was tea.

He walked me,almost in slow motion to his chair,draped a gown over my shoulders, took out his shaving machine and he proceeded to shave off more of my hair than I had asked him to.

That was almost 8 years ago and  since then I have relaxed my hair once ,in a moment of pure madness which  I regret to date,then shaved it again….. and now..I am happy with my  type 4 hair and would not want it any other way.

In that 8 year period,I have seen more  women embracing the natural hair look and beauty shops in Nairobi are now stocking more natural hair products than ever before.If you walk into Super cosmetics on Mama Ngina Street it is a natural hair haven with hair products your hair will love and over the years,natural hair products have been taking up more shelf space even in supermarkets.

One of the dangers   that come with having natural hair though is that you run the risk of   becoming a product junkie.You go to town to buy one hair product,just one,  before you know it, you have 10 products in your shopping cart.And out of the 10,your hair will be in love with just one..1!

To avoid spending money on products you do not need,it is important to know you hair type.

Thanks to growth in the hair industry we now can tell our hair types,thanks to one man whom I will call The Man.

That man is Andre Walker.

Andre Walker is a hair stylist developed a hair typing system to help us understand our natural hair ,be able to identify our hair type so that  we can better take care of it.You may have seen his work as a stylist on people like Oprah Winfrey and remember that pixie hair cut Halle Berry is famous for..Andre Walker is the man behind that look.

At the beginning of this post,I included  a simple chart to help you identify your hair type,a simple rule of thumb to follow is that the more tightly curled your hair is,the more delicate it is (yes its true) my hair is type 4 and this type of hair needs a lot of moisture as it tends to dry out quickly.

Once you have identified your hair type , read as much as you can on how you can take care of it and do not follow everything you see on You Tube and use what you learned to identify the best type of products that would go well with your hair.

A lot of disappointment  will accompany you   once you start on your natural hair care journey and your  hair does not behave as well as that of You Tubers. It does not have to. Hair like your finger print is unique and will be affected by things such as the humidity of the part of the world  you live in,the kind of water you wash your hair with (  soft /hard),what you eat,do you smoke ,drink alcohol, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables ?

I also have to say that a particular hair product may give very different results   depending on the hair type it is used on.

In addition ,something we  cannot run away from are our genes,they  play a big role on the kind of curls we carry on our heads.

Now about my  type 4 hair  which a lot of people find difficult to maintain but which i absolutely love.This hair type contrary to popular opinion is actually very fragile as its made up of very thin strands of fine hair ,densely packed together.When this hair type is not well moisturized it tends towards a coarse texture and will easily break.

One of the best ways I would recommend of knowing what works on your hair type,especially if you are type 4 is trying out one particular product at a time,that way you get to know what works and what does not.

With time I have come to learn what my hair likes and what it does not,below I will give a simple guide on what I would recommend if you are type 4 hair,it works for most hair types as well  with simple variations for those whose curl patterns are not so tight.


Washing my hair daily has always been a great way to keep it full of shine as well as moisturized and when it’s not in braids I wash it daily and even with braids I make sure i wash it at least  every 2 weeks.

Sometimes, but only rarely do I  ever use hair gel as I have seen that it dries out my hair too much.

If you find that spritzing your hair with water is not doing much,it is because your hair products are sitting on your hair shaft clogging it and making it hard for moisture to get through.

This is when you pre poo it and give it a good wash preferably with a clarifying shampoo.


After the hair wash,you need to keep that moisture locked in and a good way to do this is to use a hair butter or a natural oil like olive oil.I did a post on how to know if the olive oil you are buying is the real thing.

Using an oil on your hair which is part of the L.O.C method for natural hair  helps to seal in moisture thus preventing moisture loss which leads to dry brittle hair.


You can follow up the oil with a hair cream that locks in the moisture in your hair and I can vouch for  the Dax Roots Olive Cream ,my hair loves it.

The cream acts  a sealant to the moisture you introduced in steps 1 and sealed in step  2 with oil.

Because my hair is a type 4,the above method works out very well and  will also do for most hair types.If you hair is more loosely curled  read on The Natural Hair Rules blog about  the L.O.C.O method which  works out pretty well for these other  hair types.

This is where you use a Liquid.Light oil.Cream then a heavy oil like coconut or olive oil as a sealant.It would be great to confirm if any of you with finer hair have used this method and what the results were.

Back to the conversation about type 4 hair..I have found out that with hair you just need to know what works and does not work for it,for me as stated earlier,hair gels  my hair  does not like,it dries out , breaks and on the occassion that I have to use it, I make sure it is washed  out by evening.

My hair type  loves moisture and the daily wash is a must after which I apply olive or coconut oil and sometimes a cream.

I also try to avoid any heat treatments like having it blow dried and combing it out and only finger comb it during a wash or when I am applying oil to it which reduces on the breakage.This approach has helped it retain its curl pattern which when people ask what I use on my hair to be able to retain the curl pattern,I simply say I hardly ever use a comb on it.

At the moment I am in Nyasuba Locs which I had done by Onea on Hair ,what I love about them them is that they are light and that there was no need to have my hair straightened in order to have them done which is a win win for my hair and my scalp as well.I am maintaining the locs and my hair by using olive oil on my scalp  every other day .I have had the locs for about 2 weeks now and I am doing a wash next week.

Do you have type  4 hair? what is your hair care regimen like ?

Would love to hear from you as well as hear on your experience with hair products.





A few years ago,there were only  3 brands of olive oil that were available on supermarket shelves in Nairobi, that was unless you knew about the Italian convenience store in Valley Arcade ,New ItalyCor , where there was more variety and not just of olive oil but a lot of Italian food products and wine.

At my last visit to a local chain of supermarkets  I counted  at least 8 different brands and was surprised to see a brand that is bottled  locally.

There has been a rise in the demand for olive oil as people are becoming more aware of its benefits.

If you visit beauty stores and if you have been following the natural hair movement you will have noticed  that a lot of people swear by olive oil for both their hair and skin as well.Olive oil forms part of a daily regimen that helps keep hair especially nappy hair moisturized and healthy as its chemical structure that makes it easier to get absorbed into our  hair follicles.

When my son was younger and suffered from bouts of eczema,I got tired of the steroid  cream we were using and resorted to using the extra virgin  olive oil from my pantry.It worked beautifully  as it easily blended and melted into his skin leaving a lovely  and healthy glow .

Now along with this  phenomenal popularity in the use of  olive oil,there has emerged a counterfeit market where blends of olive oil are being sold as the real thing and it is going  for astronomical prices.This counterfeit industry is not new and has gone on for years and it is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Actually ,if you can, get this book Extra Viriginty:The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive oil .

Why the rise in counterfeit versions of olive oil?

Because olive oil has for millennia been known for its health benefits like ,you can read up on a previous article I wrote on why olive oil has been revered for millennia.

And because it is grown in very few countries,it has become hard to meet the demand and a few unscrupulous individuals have found a way of selling of blends of low quality olive oil or even vegetable oil and touting them as the real thing.

Some of the health  benefits of olive oil that make it such a sought after commodity are :

1.It helps in lowering bad cholesterol because it is high in monounsaturated fats.

2.It has been known to improve digestion,metabolism and prevent aging.

3.Can help in weight loss because  its high in monounsaturated fats .

Even with these health benefits,it is recommended not to consume  more than 2 table spoons of olive oil because of  by its nature  being an oil,it is high in calories.

How can you tell  real olive oil  from fake  olive oil?

1.When buying olive oil,be sure to check the label to know where the olive oil comes from.On some bottles you may find that the olive oil has been blended from oils from Italy and Spain.Some of it just says product of Italy.

The real olive oil however should state from what region of Italy it comes from.The more information provided on the bottle,the more likely it is that it is the real thing and the more expensive it will be.

2.Do not buy any olive oil in a plastic bottle.Olive oil is stored in dark colored glass bottles usually gree on brown to protect it from UV light which degrades it..

3.Be on the look out for labels such as light olive oil,pure olive oil or just plain simple olive oil.When the oil is labelled extra virgin olive oil,it means it has come from the first pressing of the olives and color range of the oil is from yellow to deep green depending on the type of olives the oil was harvested from.

4.Check the dates for when the olive oil was produced.Ideally the best olive oil is one that has been newly harvested ,unlike wine olive oil does not get better with age and olive oil should not be stored for long.If your bottle as a harvest date then you can be sure you are getting the real deal ,as  it is bottled without any preservatives,good olive oil should keep up to two years though the idea is to use it up  as soon as you get it in order to make most use of the flavors.

Locally in Kenya,I have found that the best brands are Olitalia and Pietro Coricelli.

Recipe ideas:Drizzling some olive oil over some toasted bread topped with  cheese , tomatoes and a dash of black pepper … absolutely delish.

If you love sun dried tomatoes,soak them in olive oil and use them in your vegetable  sandwiches,….our taste buds will be in heaven!

It is also great when added to a warm bowl of pasta or for your salad dressings.

If you are planning to buy olive oil for your hair or skin,both of these brands that I mentioned above are excellent choices .





Sunscreen is good for you!
Sunscreen is good for you!

Whatever your age you need sunscreen.

And seeing that i am not very good at using chemical sunscreen,I decided to do some research on natural ways to reduce sun damage.

The result….some new green  ideas for protecting your skin against sun burns and damage.

1.Wearing a hat

Wearing a wide brimmed hat when the sun is really hot  will go a long way towards protecting your skin against sun damage.

Your  skin is the biggest organ your body has and protecting it against sun damage will protect you against a lot of wrinkles as well as some form of cancers.

2.Eating well.

By eating well you not only nourish and protect your body but these nutrients also get passed on to your skin.

By adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet you are going to be introducing anti oxidants to your body that help fight  and control skin damage.

3.Natural Oils

Some of natures best kept secrets are in the natural oils it provides.

According to Wellness Mama some of  these natural oils actually contain SPF properties.

Shea Butter-SPF 4-6

Coconut oil- SPF-4-6

Almond Oil-SPF of about 5.

Maridadi Living!